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Volume 24 No. 156

People and Pop Culture

Three women and a man said that they “were molested as children by BILL CONLIN, a Hall of Fame baseball writer and Philadelphia Daily News columnist,” according to Nancy Phillips of the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER. The four accusers, in “vivid accounts,” said that Conlin “groped and fondled them and touched their genitals in assaults in the 1970s, when they were ages 7 to 12.” Conlin retired yesterday from the Daily News, where he “had worked for more than four decades.” GEORGE BOCHETO, Conlin’s attorney, said, "Mr. Conlin is obviously floored by these accusations, which supposedly happened 40 years ago. He has engaged me to do everything possible to bring the facts forward to vindicate his name." Prosecutors in Gloucester County, Pa., who “took videotaped statements from the four last year say they could do nothing because assaults that occurred before 1996 fall outside the statute of limitations.” Daily News Editor LARRY PLATT, who “immediately accepted” Conlin's offer to retire, said, "I can't even begin to express the shock, sadness, and outrage I feel by what Bill Conlin is alleged to have done." Philadelphia Media Network CEO & Publisher GREGORY OSBERG, whose company owns the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Daily News, wrote in a message to employees: "There were several very specific claims, from multiple victims and their families, to support our decision to publish this article." Conlin joined the Daily News in '65 and “was its Phillies beat writer from 1966 until 1987, when he became a columnist.” He gained a “national profile as a commentator on the ESPN program ‘The Sports Reporters,’ and the Hall of Fame honor secured his reputation as a leading voice on baseball.” Conlin was awarded the J.G. Taylor Spink Award this year. Baseball Writers Association of America Secretary-Treasurer JACK O'CONNELL, whose organization selects the Spink award winner, said that the group “would take no action.” O’Connell: "The allegations have no bearing on the award, which was for his work as a baseball writer" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 12/21). USA TODAY’s Nicole Auerbach notes Conlin retired “hours before The Inquirer posted its story online” (USA TODAY, 12/21). In St. Petersburg, Hobson & Steinle note the Inquirer story “contains graphic descriptions of the alleged abuse” (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 12/21). In N.Y., Jere Longman writes under the header, “Philadelphia Sportswriter Accused Of Child Molestation” (N.Y. TIMES, 12/21).

USA Today Sports Media Group named MARK KORTEKAAS Senior VP/Digital. He most recently served as GM of the BBC's online technology group (USA Today)....IMG named GARY DOUBLE VP/Corporate Communications for Europe. Double, who will be based in London, previously ran his own sports communications consultancy and had been Dir of Media & Communications for English soccer club Portsmouth (IMG)....Learfield Sports named Armstrong Interactive Media Sales Strategist STUART HEIFETZ Senior Dir of New Business Development for the Northeast Region (Learfield)....Ecco named Sky Golf Eastern Regional Sales Manager MARYBETH COBIA Territory Manager for its U.S. golf division (Ecco)....WWE publicist KELLIE BALDYGA is leaving the company to rejoin ICR and head the firm's new consumer PR division (THE DAILY)....My Sports Dreams, LLC VP/Youth Marketing & Partnerships CHRIS WEILLER has joined the U.S. Fund for UNICEF as Senior Dir of Sports Partnerships (THE DAILY)....USA Football appointed Big Ten Commissioner JIM DELANY to its BOD (USA Football)....SD Sports Innovators named Wasserman Media Group Action Sports Management Principal STEVE ASTEPHEN to its advisory board (SDSI). 

Do you have an executive announcement? If so, please send to editorial@sportsbusinessdaily.com

In Washington, Greg Gordon noted Republican presidential candidate NEWT GINGRICH has "raised $54 million over five years" for his campaign. Gingrich has received contributions from several figures in the sports world including: NASCAR Vice Chair & Exec VP JAMES FRANCE ($264,000); late Las Vegas casino operator FRANK FERTITTA JR, and his sons FRANK III and LORENZO, who own UFC ($250,000); and Reds Owner ROBERT CASTELLINI ($146,000) (THE OLYMPIAN, 12/20).

GIVING BACK: The AP's Pat Graham notes Broncos QB TIM TEBOW is "just as devoted to his engagements off" the field as he is to "improving on the field." Tebow "doesn't mind all the attention" associated with Tebowmania. It "gives him a platform for his causes, such as the Tim Tebow Foundation's 'Wish 15' program." Tebow's foundation is partnering with CURE Int'l "to build a children's hospital in the Philippines, where Tebow was born." He also "inspires inmates through jailhouse talks." Tebow said, "Ultimately, that's taking my platform and using it for something good, more so than any 'SNL' skit or any magazine" (AP, 12/21).

CHARGES FILED
: In Chicago, Art Golab reports former NFLer and U.S. sprinter WILLIE GAULT yesterday "denied charges by federal regulators that he took part in a scam to artificially pump up the stock price of a medical device company he helped to manage." Gault was one of six people charged yesterday in an SEC suit that alleged he was "hired as a figurehead co-CEO of Heart Tronics to generate publicity and boost investor confidence" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 12/21).

MAKING SPIRITS BRIGHT: The Bruins yesterday took part in their “annual holiday toy delivery to local hospitals” (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/21)….UConn's men’s basketball team Monday “passed out 1,000 turkeys and bags of fixings to needy families” (HARTFORD COURANT, 12/20)….Fireman Capital Partners Founder ANDY SPELLMAN and wife RACHEL hosted a party with Patriots WR WES WELKER for the Wes Welker Foundation, which “uses athletics to help at-risk kids.” Guests included Raptor Capital Management's ROB BROGGI and JOHN BURNS, Celtics Minority Owner STEVE LEWINSTEIN, SAC Capital’s SOL KUMIN, Highland Capital Partners’ BOB DAVIS and Celtics G RAY ALLEN with his wife SHANNON (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/21).

NAMES: KEVIN DANIELS has been cast as MAGIC JOHNSON in the upcoming Broadway production of "MAGIC/BIRD." The 6-foot-5 Daniels has appeared on "HOUSE," "MODERN FAMILY," and as music producer SUGE KNIGHT in the off-Broadway production of "UP AGAINST THE WIND" about the late rapper TUPAC SHAKUR (BOSTONGLOBE.com, 12/21)....UFC fighter BROCK LESNAR yesterday paid a fine to resolve hunting charges against him in Canada. Lesnar pleaded guilty to failing to affix a tag to a mule deer he had shot on a filmed hunt in Alberta in Nov. '10 (AP, 12/20)....NASCAR driver GREG BIFFLE will ride on the Natural Balance Pet Foods float at the '12 Tournament of Roses parade on Jan. 2 (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 12/20)....Patriots President JONATHAN KRAFT’s car was recently broken into at Gillette Stadium, but nothing was taken (MYFOXBOSTON.com, 12/20)....Former racehorse FINDERS KEY is "one of the stars of STEVEN SPIELBERG's highly anticipated screen adaptation" of the play "WAR HORSE," set to open Sunday (THOROUGHBREDTIMES.com, 12/19).

The entry period for the 2012 SPORTS BUSINESS AWARDS is open.
We are accepting entries through Friday, January 13.
We’re looking for the year’s best in the following 15 categories:

  • Sports Team
  • Sports League
  • Sports Event
  • Sports Executive
  • Athletic Director
  • Sports Media
  • Sports Television
  • Digital Sports Media
  • Talent Representation and Management
  • Corporate Consulting, Marketing and Client Services
  • Property Consulting, Sales and Client Services
  • Sports Event and Experiential Marketing
  • Sports Sponsor
  • Sports Facility
  • Sports Technology

To submit an entry, go to www.sports-business-awards.com.